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Author Topic: Odds and Ends  (Read 31885 times)
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LX

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« on: May 29, 2010, 02:34AM »

Thought I'd share a little list of ideas/concepts I hand out at clinics. Most of this will be familiar since it is all inspired and/or stolen from teachers, masterclasses, late night conversations, gig/rehearsal break banter, carpools, and even a few I've lifted off this very forum!

Any feedback appreciated!!

Thanks,

LX

=====================================================
ODDS AND ENDS

"Technique" is primarily how you do something, not just how fast you so something.
Find places to play with, hear, meet and study with musicians who create/perform music the way you'd someday like to.
Soft music should have the same intensity as music played loudly, only it should sound very far away.
Listen more closely to the sounds around you than forcing your sound on everyone around you. A variation on this idea: seek to understand, then seek to be understood.
Seemlingly complicated tasks often turn out to be a series of simple tasks.
Practice in order to make playing music on your instrument easier and more natural. Strive for the simple solutions, they tend to "stick" better.
Your tongue should ride a continuous flow of air.
  LET the music happen when you play. Consider yourself a free-flowing conduit for Music, not necessarily some vessel containing some mysterious untapped "source" of that music.
Remember to practice "simple" things with a commitment to their performance, not just as a part of your "warm up".
Great players are easily identified by one or two notes.
Practice listening. Listen for the "inside" sounds. Listen to bass lines, counter melodies, percussion parts etc, etc. How does it all fit together? Sing what you hear, write things down occasionally. Commit to always being a better listener--this skill might save your life one day; musically and/or otherwise!
Play this little game every day:
            Hear it--->Sing it--->Buzz it---->Play it
Play relaxed. Let tension go. Take inventory of tension every 15 minutes of every practice session. TAKE BREAKS!! Think of breaks as a part of your routine. Your body needs to re-boot once in a while! "Breathe" your way into a more relaxed state.
"Perform" when you practice. Imagine yourself performing every note for a critical audience. Tape record yourself occasionally to create this environment.
Developing skills as a brass instrumentalist is more about developing co-ordination than just building strength. Endurance is a combination of co-ordination and strength.
Airflow is mainly constant from register to register. The direction and the volume of that airstream are the most important ways the air changes in and out of each register.
Play everything with a sense of time, even rubato.
Warm air and cool air each has its own place in music.
The note starts in the air and lips, not the tongue. The tongue is the time-keeper.
Project sound/music at all times, and at all dynamics.
Your breath when you play should approximate your breath when you are NOT playing.
Play everything with "IN-tention", not "in TENSION"!
Blow THROUGH every note, not just FROM note to note.
Strive to communicate something in a group of notes [phrases], tell stories in sound.
Be curious. Try new musical ideas for the heck of it. Switch an etude into different keys/clefs. Shift your warm ups and scale practice an eighth note earlier/later. Does "stacatto" in a Brahms Symphony mean the same thing as "stacatto" in a Sammy Nestico big band chart? Don't be afraid to ask "why?", "what if" and "why NOT"?
On unison passages, listen more closely to your neighbors than to yourself.
Be a time-keeper. Don't totally rely on conductors, metronomes and rhythm sections. Be more PRO-ACTIVE with time, less RE-ACTIVE.
Be in the flow of the music even when you are not playing at a given time in a piece. Consider yourself as a part of the musical flow even when you are not playing, the more into that flow you will be when you do play. Trombone sections are often late because they are not IN the music coming out of rests. Be your own "rhythm section".
Music is a language. Scales and chords are its vocabulary. Melodies are its sentences.  Great pieces of music are prose and literature.
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2010, 10:13AM »

What a great post... thanks so much for sharing these ideas. Everybody on the forum would gain from reading this, so I will put a 'sticky' on it so it does not disappear over time.

Chris Stearn
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2010, 01:47PM »

Thanks Alex. This is a keeper.
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Gabe Langfur
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2010, 03:15PM »

Thanks so much Good!

Those words are like a goldmine for all. I will try some of the suggestions tomorrow. Like blowing through the notes and not just jump from one to another.
Thanks a lot for this. It will keep my practicing busy for many days to try out. Maybe years  :)

Leif
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« Reply #4 on: Jun 01, 2010, 04:16PM »

You da man!

Thanks,
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« Reply #5 on: Jun 01, 2010, 10:58PM »

Here is PDF of a "Warmup/Daily Routine Outline"

Each topic heading is described briefly, then a "goal" or mental image to maintain throughout that part of the routine, then I give some suggested materials that pertain to the given topic. The idea is to provide a template [which can be altered to suit any given player] for addressing most of the important fundamentals with regard to trombone playing. The basic idea is that each concept is more important than any given exercise you might choose. For instance, you might want to insert orchestral excerpts or other material under each subject heading to reinforce the given fundamental concept in the way that suits you best.

Have fun!!

LX

PS....I always appreciate feedback/suggestions/critiques on these things from players, students and teachers. My goal is to provide useful material. It is always a "workinprogress"!!

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« Reply #6 on: Jun 01, 2010, 11:55PM »

Wow... another great resource. Thanks Alex!

I like this routine (and the way it's written) because it reinforces very clearly that WHAT you practice is important, but also HOW you practice it... i.e. with a clear concept of the desired result in mind. Often, students will simply run mindlessly through routines/drills etc. without a clear purpose in mind - this handout clearly articulates the concepts and goals that students should bear in mind while practicing fundamentals. Encourages students to adapt musical materials to a specific purpose - use/adapt a given etude or excerpt or pattern for working on an aspect of overall technique/musicianship.

The references to method books for each category are helpful as well - I have used many of these, but there are quite a few new ones that I'll have to check out.

Also dig the progression of the routine - builds up solid technique and musicianship from the bottom (breath) up, so to speak.

Exactly what I try to get my students doing, and I try to do myself - work in progess!

Bravo, Alex!

J
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« Reply #7 on: Jun 03, 2010, 10:32PM »

One more little handout related to performance [audition preparation in particular] and the "C" word.... "confidence".
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« Reply #8 on: Jun 04, 2010, 04:32AM »

A very good thread indeed. Thanks for taking the time to share this.
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« Reply #9 on: Jun 04, 2010, 06:00AM »

Thanks so much!
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« Reply #10 on: Jun 04, 2010, 11:34AM »

Beautiful LX. More keepers.  :)
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« Reply #11 on: Jun 04, 2010, 03:47PM »

Wow, Alex! Everytime I have bumped into you (too infrequently) or heard you play live (too infrequently) or listened to you in movies, TV, CDs (frequently), I have always been impressed with what a nice man you are, what a fantastic trombone player you are, and what a musical team player you are. I have to add to that, what a fantastic teacher you are.

Especially quoting your "sources". None of us are gurus, we are the product of a long line of master teachers, who learned from master teachers, who learned from...

The assimilation of knowledge from all sources available is the first step to becoming a master, the demonstration of ability from that study is the second step to becoming a master, and (I am probably leaving out some steps) the communication of the knowledge and ability to others (especially the next generation) is the 3rd step.

You have done all of these. You sir, are a master of your craft and teaching it. Wow.

With your permission, I will make these "handouts" a regular part of my private instruction.

Thanks, Alex. Hope to see you and perhaps play with you in the near future.
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« Reply #12 on: Jun 05, 2010, 03:18PM »

Here is a pdf version of "Odds and Ends" for downloading.

Thanks for the nice comments, folks. As long as someone expresses some benefit from this stuff, I will keep posting it here. A few more things like this are in the works!!

LX
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« Reply #13 on: Jun 05, 2010, 04:55PM »

Another handout about "Listening". Good for young students, but I am amazed at how far this particular advice [given to me a LONG time ago] can go!! A friend of mine who draws very well once told me, "Drawing something well is less about the technique of 'drawing' itself than it is about the act of 'seeing'." Substitute "playing" for "drawing" and "listening" for "seeing"!!

Good luck!

LX
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« Reply #14 on: Jun 06, 2010, 01:00AM »

Alex, I did see a TV program about learning to draw, and yes they told drawing is about to see correct. That's interesting. So maybe we have to "tune" in our ears to capture whats really going on when listen music.

Thanks for sharing all this. For me with some language problems this is very good. All the points are short, direct, and easy to understand. Many books out there about playing is long and difficult to understand. This is something to have on the wall, and look at everyday.

Leif
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« Reply #15 on: Jun 06, 2010, 10:09PM »

I have the privilege of studying with Ales.  To him there are no exercises, only music. He is a real fanatic on that point. He is full of surprises. I will work on a set of etudes and come the lesson and somehow wind up working out of a different book. He is VERY demanding and will push you really, but it is worth it. He plays everything he assigns me including Cornette Grand Etude Number Two. The best part of the lesson is when he plays Rochut. YOu have to hear it to believe it. Listen to what he says. He is the man.
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« Reply #16 on: Jun 07, 2010, 04:14PM »

Lord what a good thread.  Thanks Alex.
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« Reply #17 on: Jun 21, 2010, 06:04AM »

Thanks for the info LX I am sure that my students will benefit from your expertise. I am am 81 years young and I learn new things every day. I sometimes feel that I play better now than when I was a pro. Thanks to people like you. We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing. Max
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« Reply #18 on: Jul 06, 2010, 12:13PM »

Wow! Just wanted to say I appreciate the advice very much! Thanks :D
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« Reply #19 on: Jul 27, 2010, 01:45PM »

Thanks a lot! I've printed this out, and I plan on keeping it in my music folder to remind myself and others of this great advice.
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